Biography of Alfred Harris Hecox
Alfred Harris Hecox. One of the native sons of Allen County who are now holding official positions in the employ of the United States Government, is Alfred Harris Hecox, who since July, 1914, had served in the capacity of postmaster of the City of Iola. Mr. Hecox had had a diversified and interesting career, in which he had visited various parts of the country and engaged in a number of different occupations which have brought him in close touch with the public and at the same time had given him a broadened experience. These qualities have served him well in the discharge of his official duties and have helped to make him a popular and efficient official.
Mr. Hecox is descended from English ancestors who left their native land and located in the Colony of Connecticut prior to the American War of the Revolution, and from that community the family branched out into other localities to the west and south, the branch of which Mr. Hecox is a member having found settlement in Illinois. He was born on a farm in Allen County, Kansas, October 30, 1869, and is a son of Jeremiah and Sarah (Harris) Hecox. Jeremiah Hecox was born in 1826, in Hancock County, Illinois, and was there reared and married and engaged in farming. He was past middle life when he ventured to take his place among the sturdy farmers of Kansas, and in 1867 located in Allen County, where he homesteaded eighty acres of land six miles northwest of Iola. There he passed the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits and died in 1883. Mr. Hecox was primarily an agriculturist and had no ambition for a business or financial career or for any position in public life. He was content to till his acres and to realize a modest profit from his labors, and his only share in politics was to vote the democratic ticket. Mrs. Hecox, who was born in 1842, in Hancock County, Illinois, still survives her husband and is a resident of Iola. There are four children in the family: Nancy Jane, who is the wife of Samuel Malcome, employed in the cement plant at Iola; John William, who resided at Haviland, Kansas, and is engaged in farming; Alfred H., of this notice; and Frank Edwards, a farmer of the State of Nebraska.
The rural schools of Allen County furnished Alfred H. Hecox with his educational training, and as a youth he worked on his father’s farm. The elder man died when his son was fourteen years of age and he was compelled to contribute his share to the support of the family, continuing to remain on the homestead until he reached the age of nineteen years. At that time he was attracted to the Pacific Coast and started on a trip which finally brought him to Yakima, Washington, where for four years he was variously employed, principally as a general workman. During this time, however, he made some advancement, for he attended the Yakima School of Telegraphy, and, mastering that vocation, became an operator. From Yakima he went to Portland, North Dakota, where he remained for a short time, working as a telegrapher, and in 1894 returned to Kansas and settled in Woodson County. There he found employment in the railroad office at Piqua, as operator, and remained in that capacity three years. In 1899 he came Iola, where he was retained by the Missouri Pacific Railroad as bill clerk in their general offices, and after one year his fidelity and ability had gained him promotion to the position of cashier, of which position he was the incumbent until 1909. He was then made chief clerk of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad offices at Iola, but after three years of service in this position resigned to become joint station clerk for the Missouri-Kansas Car Service Association, a position which he held until 1914.
Mr. Hecox had been a democrat since reaching his majority, and had been a stalwart supporter of the candidates and policies of his party. In July, 1914, he was appointed by President Wilson as postmaster of Iola, and in this office had continued to the present time. His administration of the affairs of the Iola office had resulted in excellent service for the people of the city, in whose esteem Mr. Hecox had found a well-established place. Fraternally, he belongs to Iola Lodge No. 38, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; and Iola Lodge No. 21, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he was secretary for two years. Mr. Hecox owned his own comfortable home at No. 812 North Street.
Mr. Hecox was married in 1889, in Woodson County, to Miss Josie Rhodabargar, daughter of Jacob and Abbie (Perry) Rhodabargar, both of whom are now deceased. Mr. Rhodabargar was a pioneer into Kansas, coming to Allen County about 1870 and here spending the balance of his life. Mr. and Mrs. Hecox have been the parents of two children: Harry Milton, who is a traveling salesman and resided at Chanute, Kansas; and Ray, who died at the age of sight months.